"Cogito, ergo sum."

"Sed non esse volo!"


It was cold, as it ought to be in late October, well after Nine O'Clock. The Doctor had landed late the previous year; November, 1889; and he hadn't truly escaped anything he had hoped he would when he found out where he was.

StopcallingyourselfDoctoryou'renotthatmoretheMonsterMurdererEvilDemonstopcallingyourselfsomethinggoodwhenyou'renot

The last year when he arrived, the TARDIS had forced him to come to Victorian London because he was too catatonic to take care of himself. She had taken his well-being into her own metaphorical hands to ensure his survival.

Leaveittohertotakecareofyoubecauseyou'retooweakhelplessworthlesstodoanythingright

It was getting even colder, but the he didn't mind. He wanted to go back to the TARDIS, his sanctuary, but she needed a break from him. She always forced him out when it was this time. He couldn't blame her. He spent too much time with her because he was afraid of going down from their cloud and facing the human world. Who would blame her from wanting to be away from his pitiful, sulking behavior? She would let him back in by the time an hour had passed, but he was planning on staying later tonight, because she needed more of a break from him than just an hour.

Perhaps she was trying to get something out of him by forcing him outside, but he threw that theory away. Besides the fact that there was nothing left for him, she couldn't speak to him.

Ofcourseshecan'tstupidevilmurdereroftheonlyonewhoputupwithyounobodyshouldhavetoyoumonster

His ingrained biological clock told him that he had half an hour before she would even consider letting him back within her safe walls, away from this primitive time. Even though his claustrophobia made it hard to walk through the doors sometimes, he was grateful she allowed him the peace of not being with people who would bug him about his well being and the needy-ness of humanity.

He decided quickly to spend the rest of his time away from the park he was sulking in to wander the back alleys of London, until another hour had passed. It was late enough that people would ignore him if he was there and simply not be there in most cases.

Toocowardlyyoubastardyouneedtojuststayawayfromthemaltogetherbutyoucan'tbecauseyou'retooproudtojustcurlupinacorneranddie

So he strolled casually down the main roads and slipped into one of the back alleys. There were many alleys in London and the chances of him meeting anyone who he knew was unlikely. The chances of him meeting people who he didn't know, even more dangerous, would be lessened if he avoided pubs.

He thoughts instantly turned that idea down. His friends knew he would try to avoid pubs so they wouldn't look there and that would help them find him. They found him often, but didn't most of the time; which was good. Them not being burdened by him was very good; it was great, even. Maybe if they stopped finding him they would stop looking for him, and would forget about him.

Stopcallingthemfriendstheyonlyhelpyououtofpityandignoranceiftheyknewwhatyouarethentheywouldkillyoubutdeathistoogoodforyou

The fact that they were still trying to find him was a bad thing though. It was a kill-joy for the happy thought that preceded it.

Thefactthattheytryisrepulsivebecauseit'shorribleandfreaksandpsychpathslikeyoudon'thavefriendstheyhavevictims

He started walking faster, as if trying to escape the horrible truth of the situation he had put them in. They shouldn't have been burdened by him like that. They were constantly trying to contact him and that was wrong. Nobody needed him in their life, and those deluded enough to try to keep him in their life were quite pitiful indeed. He was so wrapped up with his own thoughts he almost didn't notice the two children shivering in their sleep against each other.

He berated himself. He was so selfish he wasn't even looking for them. He stood still and looked at them. The younger one, a girl who was barely the height of a toddler, had a deep bruise on her face, the pattern of infliction resembling a fist. Deeply angered by this, he clenched his own hand, and then searched his pockets for any sort of money he had on him. He didn't carry money often, because he never bought anything, but he managed to find a few loose coins in his pocket and placed it by the older boy, before continuing to walk away from them.

YouaretoblameyoucouldhavemadechildabuseandneglectamajorcrimeinEnglandcenturiesagobutyoudidn'twanttomesswithsuchahorriblethinginhistory

He turned into the next alleyway he found. He looked what was in the alley first, lest he find another homeless existence that would break through his apathetic fa├žade and risk his friends seeing it.

Self-centeredegoistevilconcernedwithappearancestopcallingthemfriendsstopinsultingthem

Most of the time they were watching him he knew, but not always. He could never be too careful. They observed him several times without his knowledge, and when they decided to make themselves known...

Theyonlytellyouandfixyousoyouwon'tthinkyoucangetawaywithsuchahorriblebeautifulevilwonderfulthingbecausetheywantyoutobenotpatheticlikeyouwere

One of the times, they had nearly stepped in before he decided to change the circumstances of the situation and they told him later. They told him they were proud of him. The other times...

Butyouneverwere

Thinking about the circumstances of when they told him that they followed, when they said they were proud, he was suddenly overwhelmed by the desire to make it one of those times they wouldn't be proud.

Theyshouldn'tbeproudofyouunlessthey'remonsterslikeyoubutthey'renotandyoushouldshowthemwhytheyshouldn'tbeproud

Victorian London was one of the most polluted cities on Earth, and certainly full of what he needed to make his proper penance happen. He would have simply taken a tool out of his pocket, but his friends searched him often to ensure he wasn't carrying any on him.

Isn'titironictheydon'ttrustyouwithanythingthatcanmakethingsrightlikeyou'reamadmanyouareandyouknowbutstillyoucallthemfriends

His mind was decided. He needed to get what he deserved, his penance. He needed to do something, but there was nothing that he could see immediately. He walking forward while staring at the ground. His friends hadn't installed anachronistic cameras in this area, to his relief, and he hadn't sensed anyone following him throughout his walk. He was safe to continue in his search for absolution.

Then he spotted it, glittering in the moonlight. There on the ground sat the remains of what once held some sort of wine, but was now shattered. He stooped down and picked up a piece of it, almost gleefully observing that it was sharp and not as dirty as what he usually used. It still smelled faintly of alcohol, and probably would be safer for him to use than the discarded knives and ordinary pieces of glass he normally found. Perhaps, if he were caught, they wouldn't be as angry as they normally were.

Thoughthefactthatyou'reamonsterthatneedsthisshouldmakethemangryshouldn'titthefactthatonedayyou'llkillthemlikeyoudideverythingelse

They would certainly be angry that he did thing vile thing, but at least he was sure that they weren't around to stop him. They would find out later, but they wouldn't comment too much on it besides sighing and reminding him that it was dangerous. So he leaned on the nearest wall, pulled his left sleeve and pressed the glass against his skin, and slashed it parallel with the ground. The blood started flowing freely on his arm, and he gave a shuddered sigh of pain.

He tried to ignore the sting, reminding himself that he deserved it for his crimes. The voice was quiet, and that was an added extra by itself. He pressed the glass next to his first cut and pulled it down too. He bit his lip, trying to keep himself from moaning in pain. Making a sound might attract attention to himself, and despite his current actions, that was not what he wanted. Attention meant a poor soul would be thinking about him and that was something horrible.

Pressing the glass down again, he sliced his arm even deeper, but avoiding the artery that ran through his arm. If he cut that and his friends somehow found out, then they would call it careless and a suicide attempt regardless of his intentions.

Before he could make another cut, he saw someone moving toward him. Sighing, he pulled his sleeve down and pocketed the glass, turning toward the person. At best, he could hope it was some drunk stumbling home; at worst...

"Another cut and the blood loss might become critical," the person commented. Her veil was up, and she stopped in front of him, her eyes piercing into his mind.

"Madame," he greeted wearily, nodding at her.

"Doctor," she greeted back, her face emotionless. She walked up to him and lifted his arm, rolling his sleeve up.

"Three cuts," she said, raising her free arm and revealing a communicator attached to it. "At least one is deeper than ordinary."

"Where are you?" Jenny's voice crackled from the device.

"A block east of the bakery," she replied, her voice even and steady. She was upset with him, that was clear.

The crackling from the communicator stopped and the Madame lowered her arm. Slowly, with a practiced ease, she pulled him away from the wall, went behind him and pressed down on his shoulders, signalling it was time for him to enter the hated ritual. He obeyed her unspoken command and got on his knees and he could feel her hands on his temples. She was trying to initiate a psychic link, as she always did. He focussed on the walls of his mentality, ensuring she would stay out of his mind, where no person could risk going into lest they be tainted.

Her annoyance rubbed onto him as she failed to create a mutual link. Quietly, as she always did, she chose the weakest part of his mind, and forced its unguarded psychic abilities to receive her messages. Uncomfortable, he tried to ease the link away from his mind, but the Madame had already created a firm connection to his mind. Sickeningly, he could feel her send him comfort and calmness. He was helpless to send them back to her, and suddenly the urge he had to hurt himself only a few minutes ago turned into desperate shame.

The shame, though Jenny disapproved and the Madame thought unnecessary (and Strax disapproved of everything he did from a purely medical standpoint), was there no matter what he did. They took care of him because of these demented habits of his, and then the Madame would comfort him, and they would watch him carefully. They, like deluded angels, had saved the demon instead of destroying it; and they said he shouldn't even feel guilty for it.

Perhaps that fit, though. Demons were supposed to be incapable of feeling remorse.

As if she could tell what he was thinking through their limited link, she increased the severity of the emotions she forced upon him.

The shame he felt only became stronger. It was almost as strong as when they took him back with them, though he knew from experience that it would only get worse there.

Disrupting the quiet that had enveloped the two, a carriage's wheels sounded on the stones of the street. As Strax approached them, the Madame put one of her fingers on her lips, signalling the need for quiet that he reacted best to when they didn't want his mind to wander.

"Where's Jenny? She normally arrived before you," the Madame asked quietly.

"He's on his way," Strax said in his normal voice. He didn't quite understand the urgency of silence the others felt was needed for him.

"Good," she murmured, rubbing his hair slightly. "He needs to come back with us tonight," she said, her tone still quiet. "He's been getting worse, lately," Strax observed, as he pulled his injured arm in front of his unwilling body and started cleaning the cuts.

"He has a disease," the Madame started to muse and Jenny walked into sight, "and untreated diseases get worse with time."

"And 'ow are we supposed to treat it, then?" Jenny asked, her tone gentler than her words.

"With his cooperation. Unfortunately," the Madame shrugged lightly.

"Are you sure keeping away from the fields of battle is a-"

"He suicidal, Strax. A battle field is exactly what we need to keep him away from," the Madame stressed, as she watched him work on the Doctor's arm. "Are you sure there's nothing physically wrong with him? Other than the self-inflicted lacerations?"

He tensed his arm, causing Strax to misplaced the bandage slightly. He hoped that there was nothing else wrong with him. If he was depressed, he was rightfully so. Monsters deserved no happiness. If he had a more serious problem, then suddenly his evil might be justified. He was unjustifiable, and that's what made him horrible. If he had a justification, then there would be no chance for them to realize just what he was, or to have nothing else to do with him.

"The bioscans could find nothing," Strax replied, "except a slight decrease in the glandular regions that are responsible for serotonin. They're atrophying from under-use."

"Oh, great," the Madame said blandly. He could feel her sarcasm through the link, but she quickly realizes her slip-up and sent more calmness to him. It wasn't an unusual question, though with the frequency it was asked, it was if they expected a different answer someday.

He was in hell. The shame he felt was only mildly being controlled by the Madame's onslaught of emotions, and he knew that he was being an unnecessary burden to them. He wanted to reach into his pocket and drag the glass against his flesh again, to release himself, but he knew if he tried they would end up sedating him and revoke any semblance of freedom they controlled (all of it, none of it).

Strax finished his work and stood, nodding at his arm. The Madame took her hands away from his temples and grabbed his uninjured arm, helping him up. Before he could bring his sleeve back down, the Madame started walking toward the cab. Half-dragged to the vehicle, the Doctor was unceremoniously forced inside, Jenny following the pair, and closing the door.

The ride back was silent. It wasn't far enough for them to really be going by anything but legwork, but on nights like these, they never let him walk. They thought it a risk to have him be active when he had lost blood. It was foolish, in his mind, as he knew his blood replenished faster than either of theirs. However, whenever he had asked in the past, they reasoned that he was too sick to have his blood-count as constant as it should have been.

He merely looked at the scenery they passed until they stopped and he was led into their house. He felt a rush of fear when he looked at their house. He shouldn't have been there, or anywhere close to their home. It was evil, blasphemy in its own right. This place was wrong. It was where he was restrained and when he crossed the threshold into it he would no longer be in any form of control.

The respite the cutting gave him wasn't worth this. It wasn't worth them looking at him like they were as they installed him in the drawing-room. It wasn't worth the Madame calling to him, trying to get his attention.

He nodded at her, signalling she had his attention as he made eye contact.

"When's the last time you ate?" she asked, her voice finally revealing the tiniest bit of emotion. It was only his luck that it was concern, not the fury and disappointment he had prepared for.

"Yesterday? The day before?" he guessed, shrugging.

"The last time we fed you, then?" the Madame sighed. He did nothing. That was probably true.

"Why haven't you been eating?" Strax asked as Jenny started moving towards the kitchen, presumably to make something he would be forced to eat.

"I haven't been hungry," he excused fidgeting his hands and leaning forward.

"Don't lie to us," the Madame warned, folding her arms. "Why have you not been eating?"

He bit his lip and shrugged.

"Sir, this is vital for your recovery," Strax said. "Any sort of pain that can't be detected by standard diagnostic technology could explain your whole condition."

"He's depressed, Strax," the Madame said, her voice as even as it had been before. "He's not eating because he genuinely has no desire to eat," she explained, eyeing him in a way that made him shift, trying to hide something (everything). "Isn't that right?"

"Something like that," he agreed wearily, finally losing the eye contact he had been trying to maintain.

The Madame shook her head slightly, and sighed quietly.

"Self-mutilation is one thing," she said, starting her usual lecture, "but you have to take care of yourself! Food and water are things that you can't go without when you're suffering from some form of blood-loss regularly!"

"Adding to your earlier statement," Strax cut in, "he is depressed, and has exhibited suicidal behaviors in the past. This could easily be one of them."

"Delayed action suicide," the Madame mused, as Jenny walked into the room, holding a sandwich and a cup of water. She sat next to him and forced them into his hands.

"If you don't eat it all," she began, the threat hanging in the air. Funny, he hadn't tested that one yet. What could they possibly do to him?

His mind instantly reminded him of the past times he had so openly disobeyed them, and he took a bite of the sandwich.

"We think he's trying to starve himself to death," the Madame filled in, as she acknowledged her girlfriend's presence.

"How much weight has he lost?" she asked, leaning forward.

"Not a critical amount yet," Strax assured. "However, he's not elaborating on the reason."

"Not important," Jenny shrugged, leaning forward. "Why'd he cut tonight?"

"That's a good question," the Madame acknowledged, "what's the answer, Doctor?"

He couldn't explain that, he really couldn't. He felt like cutting, and the voice edged him on. He found glass and did the deed. That was really all there was to it, but how was he supposed to explain that?

He shrugged, and looked down at the ground.

The clock struck eleven and the guilt and shame that had triggered him earlier came back. They needed their sleep, all of them, because the sleep cycles with their species were almost identical. No one deserved to be up this late for a lost cause. He was just preventing them from being happy the next day by being there that night.

"You three need to sleep," he said, not bother to look up at them. He could feel unease through the Madame's link. He was avoiding their question, yes, but it was more vital that they sleep than understand why he paid his penance.

"He's right," he heard suddenly, to his surprise. The Madame agreed with him? This wasn't right, she was planning something.

"Follow me," she said as she stood and walked out of the room. He put down the cup he held and looked at Jenny.

"She doesn't like to be kept waitin'. Go!" she encouraged. Uncomfortable, as not knowing what was going on often made him, he walked to the hallway the Madame had went only to realize she had went up the stairs. He muttered under his breath and walked up the stairs, as quietly as he could.

Don'tmakeasoundthingsthatareheardexistandyoudon'tneedtoberemindedofthat

He saw the Madame standing outside of the guest room. "Take off your coat," she said, looking behind him.

"Why?" he asked, taking a small step away from her.

"So you won't do anything undesirable when you're alone locked in a room for an undetermined amount of time," the Madame said. "Your screwdriver, and whatever weapon you have with you: that glass, perhaps a nail that you decided to pick up. You're at too much risk to harm yourself for us to leave you unsupervised with weapons."

"I'm not about to do that h-"

"You can't be trusted," she cut off. "I know you don't plan on hurting yourself, but you never actually do. You can't control yourself. Now, take off your coat."

"She's right," he heard Jenny's voice from behind him. "I'm sure you don't wanna stay overnight, but you have to. Just take it off."

Silently, he realized he was trapped. There was a railing leading to the first floor next to him. If he could get to it before they got to him, then he could go left and out the -

"If you try it, we will not let you near anyplace with a place for you to jump from, including your cloud" the Madame warned, following his eyes.

Before he could finish thinking of his plan, he felt himself being pulled back, his coat being tugged off of him. Instinctively, he struggled against it, until he felt a cold stab at his neck, not piercing the skin, but only barely. He froze, and it was lifted, and his coat taken off.

"The threat of sedation shouldn't be the only reason you obey, Doctor," he heard the Madame sigh, as he was released from the restraining hold he was in. "The window is locked, and it has an alarm on it. If you set it off, you will be tied to the bed. Do you understand?"

He nodded. They were being perfectly clear: resistance would be met with force. He walked into the room, and before he could turn around to look at them, the door was shut and he heard a rustling of metal as they locked him.

"And Doctor?" he heard the Madame call from the other side of the door, "Try to get some sleep."

He heard them walk away, and he looked around the room. There was the window, a bed, pipes. It was a typical room, albeit the distinct lack of anything that could be broken. They really were being cautious, though this was strange. There was no chance that they were expecting him, but the bedding was fresh and there was nothing that could be made into a weapon and they had some sort of alarm on the window, all like it had been prepared in advance.

There was nothing to see, especially not with the darkness that the half-moon barely broke through. There were the usual sounds of London, and the Paternoster Gang were arguing downstairs. He couldn't possibly sleep (sleep was a respite, something he had to avoid at all costs), so he made his way over to the window and sat beneath it, curling up onto himself. Strangely, they were arguing even louder now.

"-can't let him leave, not when he's like this!"

"Like what? Like-"

"Like he's going to off himself the moment we take our eyes off of him!"

Ah, yes, they were arguing about him. How nice.

Ofcoursethey'rearguingaboutyouyouaretheEvilOneandyouwillneverbringthemanythingbutpainanddistress

"At least let's plan on tomorrow."

"He can hear every word, you know. We must speak quieter if we want to have surprise to our advantage."

"So we can... coat."

"Ye-, and he's very..."

"That would be a tactical plan of action."

"Thank you, Strax."

"We should... now. It is..."

"Very well. Goodnight Strax."

"Remember to close the curtain."

"Don't be crude."

Footsteps scattered, and their conversation had stopped. It was wrong of him to have eavesdropped, but they expected it, so that sin of his wasn't as weighing as the major ones, like the fact that he was here in the first place.

Hereasinalivebecausethat'syourworstsinorhereasinthishomeanyhomeyoubastardyoubreakthembecauseyoushouldn'texistexistanceisyourgreatestsin

The voice was back. That was bad. The voice was the one that made him think the thoughts that the Paternoster Gang (they were sacrosanct, and always knew best) disapproved of. It was the reason he cut, and begged for his death-

Theuniversebegsyourdeath

-And that made his despair, because no matter what he told them, they wouldn't just let him die.

Theydon'tunderstandbecauseit'snottheirnaturetobelieveyourbrandofevilexistsbecausetheycan'tcreateitbecausetheyarepureanddon'tunderstandwhattruefilthis

He sighed and started meditating. The voice was right, and there was nothing else to be done except wait for morning. Then, he might be permitted to leave and maybe he could set things right.

Notrightjuststopitfromgettingworsebecauseitwillitalwaysdoesbecauseyouaredestructionpersonifiedyouarethedevil


"You didn't sleep, did you?" Jenny asked when she came to the door to find him up against the window sill. He shrugged, and she sighed. "I don't sleep," he said softly. She looked at him for a moment, and then turned away. "Let's go to the kitchen. I made some oatmeal. 'D hate for it to go to waste."

He stood and followed (for their suggestions were always commands), all the way down the stairs and to the kitchen.

They had reached the room when Jenny pointed at a chair and whispered quietly, "Sit."

Obediently, like he was a child, he sat in the chair and watched as Jenny dished oatmeal into a bowl, and set it in the table in front of him.

"Vastra's finishing up some paperwork, and God know what Strax is doing. They aren't going to try and talk to you while you're eating. It's distract you from the food," she said, rolling her eyes.

"If they wanted to teach you that feeding yourself is a genuinely good idea, then not having you do anything while you eat seems dreadfully dull," she mused.

He smiled, before taking a bite of the food.

Foodlikethiscangotoactualpeopleyou'rejustwastingresourcesthisisevilyouaren'tpermittedtoeat

Carefully, ignoring the voice, he ate more of it.

Despicable

Trying to focus on something else (anything better than reminding himself he was taking up resources he didn't earn), he heard footsteps and Jenny standing, though he didn't look up, he knew that suddenly, there were three people in the room.

"He's actually eating? Willingly?" he heard the Madame sputter in disbelief.

"I'm a good cook," Jenny said, a touch of humor in her voice. "If you're going to start lecturin' 'im, then you should get it over with quickly."

He glanced up, seeing that Jenny was reading the paper without looking up, and had sat down again, and the Madame was watching him.

"Not while he's eating," the Madame said. "Dopamine is released when the body is encouraging behavior-"

"-and if you scold 'im, he won't get the same release and he won't be encouraged to eat, yada ya," Jenny scoffed. "If you eat slow enough," Jenny advised, addressing him, "you can put it off forever."

He smiled again.

Shejokeswithyoulikeyou'reapersonsheshouldbehorrifiedsheshouldslippoisonintoyourfoodsheshouldkillyounotjokewithyou

"Do you think that dopamine isn't important?" the Madame asked, as if she was issuing a challenge.

"I think you're way too scientific with his condition," she said. "It's not a trail of evidence. He needs support for his problem."

"A problem caused by irregular and the lack of neurochemicals," the Madame defended.

"Which was caused by something else that 'e's not tellin' us about," Jenny pointed out. "He was in shock when he came to us, wasn't he? Now he hurts himself. Something else caused that."

The Madame sighed, "Point taken."

He was about done with his food, only the final few bites left.

Justsayyou'redonenowjustclaimyou'refulltheymightbelieveitandyouwon'thavetowastetheirfoodanymorepleasejuststopstopstop

He was feeling rebellious. He had no control. They controlled his actions while the voice controlled his thoughts and they disagreed with each other and it made no sense and why should he have to listen? He ate the rest of the oatmeal, and he ignored the screaming the voice was doing. He almost didn't feel bad that he wasted their food.

"You're done?" Jenny asked, though she could see it. She swooped over and took his bowl, before the Madame smiled slightly and nodded. "Follow me," she ordered, exiting the room. Almost stumbling, he quickly arose and started following her. By the time he had left the room, he could barely catch her turning in the hallway.

Finally he was led to a staircase, leading downstairs, where she was waiting. "This is the stairway to the basement," she began. "Do you remember the last time you were in the basement?"

Was this a trap? Something wasn't right here.

Carefully, as if she was holding a gun to his head, he shook his head.

"The first time we had to bring you back," she clarified. "You were half-conscious, trying your best to fight back, kept reopening your wounds."

Ah, he remembered that incident. He had nicked an artery, and they considered it too reckless to be considered his normal self-harm. However, he didn't ever remember the basement.

"Still don't remember?" she sighed. "Let's go down."

She started down, but he didn't follow.

Herbackisturnedyouhavegravityonyoursideyoucouldescapeandsetthingsrightandpukeupyourwastedmealanddieandnowisthetimejustleave

"Come on," she said, waiting at the bottom of the stairs.

Toolatejustobeysoitdoesn'tgetworse

He scurried down, immediately seeing that the basement was well-lit with nearly anachronistic lighting. Nearly, but not quite.

She led him to a series of filing cabinets.

"I showed you these records," she explained, taking a file from the top. "We keep them on everyone we watch. That's criminals, victims, case-files, certain people we think might be targets."

She opened the file and flipped through it, her back towards him, before turning and handing it to him.

"Including you."

He looked at the file in his hands. It was basically a stack of paper with scribbles and notes on it. When he looked carefully, he could see notes on his physiology, and then a date. The day he arrived.

"I'm not surprised you don't remember," she said, her eyes unreadable, "we thought you were better than you were. I didn't realize how much blood you had lost, how much would lead to unconsciousness. It was foolish to even show you these when you were that ill."

However, he did remember these notes. He did remember that they recorded everything he did.

"I know you record everything," he said. "I remember that bit."

She nodded. "Good. I don't want to have to explain what we record in there," she said, taking the file back.

"However, can you guess why I brought you down here?"

He shrugged.

"We've never made a deal before," she said. "I was reviewing these just before we went out yesterday. Through all this file, there is no mention of a deal, except the one we made in the very beginning."

"You'll help me no matter how much I don't want it," he recalled. "Not much of a deal."

"Quite correct, more of a promise," she agreed.

"However, we made the details this morning. We want you to accept a proposition," she introduced, taking his arm and leading him up the stairs again.

Waitwhatwhy'dsheevenbringyoudownwhat

"What happens when I refuse?" he asked, allowing her to bring him to the drawing-room, where Strax and Jenny were waiting.

"If you refuse," she stated, installing him on the couch, before taking her place nearby, "you'll be kept here, allowed to do nothing unless we permit it. Entirely for your own safety."

He eyed them all wearily. "And I suppose this proposition will be less restrictive for the same reason."

Jenny shrugged, and Strax just nodded. "Your safety can be brought about in many different ways," he agreed. "Forcefully or willingly."

The Madame also nodded. "If you agree, you'll be permitted to leave on certain conditions."

"And breaking our deal'll be the same as sayin' no," Jenny said. "Either you agree and we'll protect you, or you'll say no and we'll protect you."

Protection. His self-mutilation had gotten bad enough, in their minds, that it warranted their protection. Damn it, that was not good.

THISISHORRIBLETHEY'LLNEVERLETYOUDIETHEY'REGOINGTOFORCEYOUTOSTAYANDTHAT'SASINTHAT'SEVILWHYCAN'TYOUMAKETHEMUNDERSTANDDAMNYOU

"What's the deal?" he asked, leaning forward and folding his hands.

It'snotlikeyoucansaynohonestlyjustagreetowhateverandthengetaknifeandgetoutofLondonbeforepurifyingtheuniverse

"You come here or meet with us at least once every three days," the Madame said. "In return, you'll be permitted to carry smaller objects again."

Okay, not so bad.

Theywantyounearthemwhatthisissoweirdwhycantheynotseethatyou'reamonsterthatyou'reevil

He nodded, and Jenny started speaking. "You tell us when you wanna hurt yourself," Jenny continued. "We'll give you a homin' device, and if you don't think you can find us, press the button."

He fidgeted, before nodding.

You'regoingtogiveuppenanceyouneedtopayyouneedtodieyouneedpainwhat'swrongwithyousoopenlylyingtothem

"No trying to kill yourself," the Madame said. "You'll end up hurting yourself again, we know," she acknowledged, "but attempting suicide is forbidden under all circumstances."

Theycan'tstopyouyouknowtheycan'thahahahatheythinktheycanstopyou

He merely shrugged.

"We have designated that after three offenses, you will be found in violation of the deal and we will ensure that you are safely away from all potentially dangerous objects, weapons, and acids," Strax said

"Indeed," the Madame agreed. "Three strikes and you'll stay here indefinitely."

Waityougetthreerespitesthreeuntiltheystopyouyoucanberiskyandyoucantrykillingyourselfdiscreetlyandyougetthreechancesevenyoucan'tscrewthatup

"I agree to all of the conditions, Madame," he said, looking directly at all of them.

She bit her lip while she and Jenny shared a look.

"Strax, check his bandages," the Madame ordered. "Then we'll let him leave."


They let him leave an hour later, and for some odd reason, the voice hadn't spoken. It simply wasn't there, and that was good. The voice was bad, he knew it was, even though it was usually right. However, it was gone and that was good.

He was walking the main roads, it was approaching mid-morning and there were people milling about. It was bad for him to be around people but he was only passing them. As long as he didn't interact with them, they would be safe.

He wondered how safe that made the Paternoster Gang. He interacted with them several times a week, and they weren't dead yet.

All of this in mind, and he was content. He wasn't hurting them, and they weren't judging him for his weakness. The only reason they were so involved was their concern and what else did that prove but their quality as people? They never questioned him, never asked him bluntly why he was there like they had the perfect right to do.

It was shameful, yes, that they had treated his wounds. It was horrifying that they stayed with him and allowed him into their house. However, he was still content.

That's when reality hit him.

He had used them. He was a monster, and somehow he had convinced them he was the victim.

Ican'tbelieveyoudidthatwhywon'tyougokillyourselfrightnowwhilethey'renotexpectingitandthey'llbesadbutthenthey'llberidofyou

How low could he become? They already were burdened, and now he had agreed to something that would burden them more-

Youdiditoutoffearyoucowardselfishbastardhowcouldyoudothattothemtheyareworthtenbillionofyouandthey'recaringforyousickanimal

-and it would keep him healthy. His physical pain not matching his mental agony would drive him insane.

You'realreadymadamadmanwithaboxonlyyoudestroyedthelittlegirlwhowaitedandthecenturianandtheirchildandthefatherofthecenturiangodwhat'swrongwithyou

Correction: Violently insane. What if he hurt one of them?

Youalreadydosobymakingthemworryanddidn'tyouraiseyourvoicealittlebacktheretheydidn'tdeservethatyou'llneverberedeemedfromthesinyouinflictonthem

Briefly he considered going through with their agreement. He knew where this was heading, and it was all too soon. He stopped and turned around, taking a step forward.

The house was only a couple of minutes away. All he had to do was tell them-

WHATAREYOUDOINGYOUDEMONDON'TYOUDAREMAKETHISEVENWORSEYOUEVILBASTARDJUSTTURNTURNAROUNDJUSTGOLEAVETURN

-but he couldn't do that. Despite all of the promises he made, it would still be wrong to burden them, especially so soon after they had been freed from his presence. He had no right.

So he turned around as quickly as he dared, and wished desperately that this was only one of the nightmares he had on the days he decided to sleep.


Hello, this is the Spirit of Gray. I'm dyslexic and not the best writer, so I'll appreciate any review I get.

Yes, this isn't the original. I couldn't stand my previous one, it didn't fit right. So I'm editing all of my stories. I probably went over-board on the angst. My cousin (the girl I'm writing this for) likes this version better. Yes, I'm adding more one-shots into this series. No, no more song-fics. Maybe...

The two quotes at the top were actually three from an anonymous dialogue about a hero who wanted to kill himself I found on this website ages ago that I can't remember the name of for scripts.

The full thing is:

"Cogito ergo sum." "I think, therefore I am."

"Sed non esse volo!" "But I don't want to be!"

"Igitur non cogitare." "Then do not think."

I got the title, "Then do not think" from this.